What happens next

The answers you as the patient provide will feed into processes to improve hospital and healthcare services. You may also be interested in getting more involved in improving patients’ experiences of health care, or want to talk more about your concerns.

How will my answers be used

Your answers will be used by hospitals and healthcare services to develop strategies to improve patient treatment and care.

Patient experience information will be discussed at management meetings and with service staff to raise awareness of how patients feel and what is important to them, and what can be done to improve the patient experience. The hospital or healthcare service will also use the information to develop strategies to improve specific areas. For example, if survey responses from several patients show that there are problems with communication between professionals and patients, they may set up a training program to remind staff of best practice.

The survey might also include questions about age, gender, ethnicity and language. This helps the hospital or healthcare service to understand and improve the experiences of specific groups of patients. For example, older patients may need more help than younger patients, or patients with English as a second language may need more help to be involved in decision-making.

The survey data might also be used by state or territory health departments and health insurance funds to understand the performance of the services they fund.

Will my answers make a difference

Your answers will make a real difference to how hospitals and healthcare services care for their patients. Hospitals and healthcare services can tell whether their treatments work by looking at data collected by health professionals. But only you can tell them how you were treated while you were in hospital – were you cared for and supported as you wanted, did you feel safe, did you experience any harm or distress, did staff talk with you about your treatment, and did you understand and agree with what was happening.

Care and support is just as important to your health as treatment, and your answers will be directly used to improve those areas.

If you are interested in finding out more about how your hospital or healthcare service is using your feedback, they may have information available on their website, or you can ask them directly.

What if I have a concern, compliment or complaint

When you are contacted about the survey, the invitation should tell you who to contact if you have a question or if you decide there is something else you wish to discuss.

Your hospital or healthcare service should also have provided you with information about how to make a complaint or give a compliment about your treatment or care, and information will be available on the organisation’s website. Hospitals and healthcare services generally have someone who receives and acts on patient feedback (for example, a consumer liaison officer, safety and quality officer, or complaints officer). You can also contact other organisations, such as your local consumer association, state or territory health care complaints commission or health ombudsman, or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Will I get an answer to my feedback

You will not necessarily get an answer to your feedback, though the hospital or healthcare service might respond to thank you for your time. If you have asked (as part of your survey response) to be contacted about a concern or complaint, you will need to provide your name and contact details, and the hospital or healthcare service should contact you directly.

How can I be further involved in hospital and healthcare service improvement

You can provide one-off or ongoing feedback to help to improve hospital and healthcare services.

If you would like to provide feedback on what it is like to be a patient or what improvements could be made to patient care, you should contact your hospital or healthcare service and speak to the consumer liaison officer or the quality and safety team.

You can also get involved in broader hospital processes that engage consumers in making change. Some organisations have patient advisory panels or consumer councils for this purpose.

Some healthcare services use AHPEQS responses from a large number of patients to identify and investigate concerning patterns which may show a safety or quality problem. As part of this process, they may ask for consumer volunteers to take part in focus groups to better understand the reasons behind these patterns of responses.

In some health service organisations, consumers can be involved in hospital committees and in assessing complaints and improvements. Public hospitals, for example, must have consumer advisory committees, which report to the health service board. Hospitals like to have a diversity of consumers involved so that they can gain an in-depth understanding of consumer needs and experiences.

How can I find out more

If you would like to find out more about how patient experience is used at your local hospital or healthcare service, they may have information or reports on their website, or you can contact the organisation directly. You can also explore this website, which will be regularly updated with further information and case studies.